World, As Seen from the most beautiful islands: Ireland and Cyprus

Islamic State is reorganizing itself in Turkey


Terror organization IS uses Turkey to ‘restore, reorganize and forge new plans’. The problem is that in the fight against terrorism Turkish interests do not always correspond with the European priorities.

This is what the Dutch intelligence service AIVD says in a remarkable statement about NATO partner Turkey in the publication ‘The legacy of Syria’ this afternoon. “The Turkish authorities act against both IS and Al Qaeda, but give priority to fighting the PKK, for example. IS can use the relative peace in Turkey to forge plans to reshape its still existing international ambitions. “The PKK is a Kurdish organization that regularly carries out attacks on Turkish territory.

The border between Turkey and Syria has in recent years been used by jihadists mainly to come to Syria. Now that the caliphate is lost, some people return. Some of them are arrested and detained, including at least four Dutch. Others stay in the lee or come back to Europe.

The ‘breathing space and freedom of movement’ that IS gets in Turkey is one of the reasons that the Netherlands and Europe will have to live for years with the threat of a terrorist attack by jihadists. “That threat seems to have become a structural part of European society, it is the new normal.” Because the IS’s caliphate in Syria collapsed, has not ensured that the terror organization is no longer a threat to the West. “IS knows how to adapt to the new, but for the organization very familiar reality: that of an underground uprising.”

‘Do it yourself-jihad’

The intelligence service concludes that fewer attacks have been committed by IS in the West since October 2017, but that the threat remains. Since March of this year, the terrorist group has claimed at least four attacks in Belgium and France. Increasingly important is the ‘do it yourself jihad’, says the service: attacks where the terrorist is not controlled by IS, but is mobilized by her ideas.

There is also the threat emanating from returning European ‘jihad veterans’ or frustrated jihadists who wanted to go to Syria, but were stopped on the way. The latter applies, for example, to three of the seven Dutch citizens who were arrested a few weeks ago on suspicion of preparing an attack on a large Dutch event.

Terror waves last at least 40 years

Historians and terrorism experts have described that a ‘terror wave’ lasts for an average of 40 to 45 years. This applied to the wave of anarchist terror at the end of the 19th century, to the anti-colonial terror (1920-1960) and to the ‘Red’ terror (like that of the German RAF) at the end of the last century. The religious terror wave, as researchers call it, started in 1979.

Terror investigators assumed when determining these waves that ‘what inspires a father does not necessarily drive his son’. But in the case of Al Qaeda, that does not seem to occur. That organization recently pushed Hamza bin Laden forward as figurehead, he is one of the sons of the 2011 liquidated Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks in America on 9/11.

Al Qaeda, which has been thrown out of the throne by IS as the most prominent jihadist terror group, is now trying to regain that position. The group wants to benefit from the defeats that IS has suffered in recent years and is still present in Northwest Syria.

Written by: Grace Kennedy

Grace Kennedy is a leading journalist, columnist of events in Ireland and beyond. 8 years in journalism, since she dropped out of university and ran away from home.

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